Friday, July 18, 2008

Reeling in a 1000-Pound Blue Marlin

The Wall Street Journal reports on this summer's perfect storm of sport fishing opportunity off the coast of Kailua Kona Harbor, Hawaii. Prized deep-water blue marlin, with potential catches weighing 1000 pounds, have big-fish fisherman flocking to the islands:

For Anthony Hsieh and other wealthy big-game fishermen, this is a summer of great expectations. Or maybe grand illusions -- it's too early to know.

Mr. Hsieh, the former president of, and some of the world's best-financed fishermen are flocking to the cobalt blue waters here off the coast of Hawaii to try to catch what many consider the holy grail of trophy fish, the grander -- a blue marlin that tops 1,000 pounds.

Not only are these fish prized for their size, beauty, and heroic fighting ability, they have serious literary cachet: the most famous one stars in Ernest Hemingway's classic novel "The Old Man and the Sea." Only 51 granders have been caught and recorded since 1939, according to the International Game Fish Association. Although locals here in Hawaii have a slightly higher tally, one thing is certain: Nearly everyone who has ever set out to catch one has failed.

Though little is known for certain about the current status of the blue marlin population in Hawaii -- the only place in the world where the elusive, migratory beasts have been caught year-round -- the stars seem to have aligned to produce a bumper crop. Increasing pressure from conservationists as well as new tournament incentives to "catch and release" fish shy of 1,000 pounds may be increasing the ranks of marlins that grow to grander size. A recent ban on long-line commercial fishing, which used to claim hundreds of marlin casualties each year, seems to be helping. What's more, soaring gas prices have cut the local sport-fishing charter business by around 40%, leaving the few there who can afford to stay on the water with little competition.

There's more at the link.

Boy, now that's an adventure!